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Faith Seeking Understanding: Nearly 40 years of Mormon scholarship, narratives, and thought from some of Mormonism's brightest minds.

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Faith Seeking Understanding: Nearly 40 years of Mormon scholarship, narratives, and thought from some of Mormonism's brightest minds.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-11-11 18:02
last episode published
2019-11-11 07:05
publication frequency
8.92 days
Sunstone Magazine author  
Sunstone Education Foundation owner  
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Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Episode 40: Mormon Iconoclast Part 4: Eric Samuelsen’s “Borderlands.”

His play “Borderlands” exacted a great cost from Eric Samuelsen, both personally and professionally. But it is also likely his greatest work. Stephen Carter and director Jerry Rapier discuss how the play came together and its potent effect on the LDS c...
Grace Pool author

Call Me by My Name

By Stephen Carter     Or click here to download the audio file: Call Me by My Name     When I was in first grade, I decided to change my name. Well, not change it, exactly, but switch it. My parents had called me by my middle name since I was born—main...
Stephen Carter author

Episode 39: Mormon Iconoclast Part 3: Eric Samuelsen’s ‘Peculiarities.’

Two BYU students go to Nevada to get civilly married for a weekend so they can see what sex is like. A bishop tries to fend off needy ward members long enough to have a romantic evening with his wife. An LDS mom starts work in a brothel to support her ...
Grace Pool author

I See the Moon

By Kevin Rex     My mom named and blessed all of our cars, christening Ruby, a 1968 Chevy, as our first van. Mom had the priesthood back then, even before those damn liberal Christian sects gave women the priesthood. Ruby’s interior was a color that Ch...
Stephen Carter author

Episode 38: How ‘Saw’ Is the Ultimate Mormon Horror Film

LDS culture is so relentlessly optimistic and family-friendly that we almost always overlook the profound horror at its theological roots. Fortunately, the horror movie “Saw” opens our eyes. After this episode, you’ll be calling it “the Plan of Saw-vat...
Grace Pool author

Episode 17: Boys and Bayonets

Missouri would be a tough time for Mormons and Gentiles alike. How did the conflict get started? How did violence change the landscape of Zion? Check out this episode with Bryan Buchanan, Lindsay Hansen Park and Christopher C. Smith about Zion’s Camp a...
Grace Pool author

Episode 37: Mormon Iconoclast Part 2: Eric Samuelsen’s “The Plan.”

Behind every great man stands a great woman … who stood up to him! The Bible often gives its female characters short shrift. But playwright Eric Samuelsen brings them vividly to life in his play “The Plan.” Stephen Carter and Melissa Leilani Larson dis...
Grace Pool author

Episode 23: Grateful but Gone: A Conversation with Wendall Hair

Wendall Hair converted to the LDS Church while living in North Carolina and served a mission in St. George, Utah, where he returned almost immediately to continue life as a Mormon. But being African-American and gay led to challenges in Wendall’s faith...
Grace Pool author

Episode 36: Mormon Iconoclast: An Introduction to Eric Samuelsen.

Mormonism suffered a great loss September when Eric Samuelsen passed away. But few people have actually heard of him, which is a shame, because he revolutionized LDS culture one iconoclastic play at a time. Stephen Carter and J. Scott Bronson discuss t...
Grace Pool author

Eric Samuelsen Plays

  Accommodations Borderlands Family Gadianton (For some reason, there’s an article appended to the beginning of this document. The article is pretty interesting, but Eric’s play starts a few pages down.) Peculiarities: NCMO Peculiarities: Pizza and a M...
Stephen Carter author

Episode 16: Grandmother Temple

There’s nothing quite like the Kirtland temple and the history can explain why. Check out the latest episode with Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park as they speak to temple curators and groundskeepers Seth Bryant and Tom Kimball about why the Kirtl...
Grace Pool author

Episode 22: Saundra Merth: Community of Christ LGBTQ Activist

Hosted by Kimberly Anderson, this episode features Saundra Merth giving a personal perspective on the growth of the LGBTQ community in the Community of Christ and how they eventually gained the priesthood. Listen to this episode here.
Grace Pool author

Episode 35: Wayne Booth: “The Rhetorician Who Can Change Everything.”

What’s more important? Having the truth, or understanding your opponent? In this first installment of the Forgotten Mormons series, Stephen Carter, Greg Clark, and Jon Ogden introduce Wayne C. Booth, the LDS rhetorician who would like to blow everythin...
Grace Pool author

Episode 21: Standing as a Witness: An Analysis of the Leadership Session of the October 2019 General Conference

A lot happened during the leadership session of general conference, from changes in who can be an official witness for a baptism to an official interpretation of the word “gender” in church policies. Blaire Ostler and her husband Drew Ostler analyze th...
Grace Pool author

Episode 34: Expanding the Soul … and the Podcast: A Conversation with Jaxon Washburn

How do you grow spiritually? Do you move from being wrong to being right? Or from being right to being righter? Jaxon Washburn sees soul growth as expansion rather than as movement toward correctness. Jaxon will be a co-host for future episodes of the ...
Grace Pool author

Episode 15: Words on the Words of Wisdom

There’s a lot to be said about the Mormon “health code,” the Word of Wisdom. Tune in to hear Lindsay Hansen Park, Bryan Buchanan and Christopher C. Smith join with researchers and historians Clair Barrus and Joe Geisner to better understand the history...
Grace Pool author

Episode 20: Blaire Ostler Discusses President Nelson’s Five Truths

On September 17, 2019, Russell M. Nelson delivered a speech at BYU outlining five “truths,” causing a big stir in the LDS LGBTQ community. In this episode, Blaire Ostler shows how his concepts sound to LGBTQ ears. Listen to this episode here.
Grace Pool author

Call for Entries: 2019 Eugene England Memorial Personal Essay Contest

Sunstone is pleased to announce the 2019 Eugene England Memorial Personal Essay Contest In the spirit of Gene’s writings, entries should relate to Latter-day Saint experience, theology, or worldview. Essays, without author identification, will be judge...
Stephen Carter author

Episode 33: A History of the Faith Crisis: A Conversation with Jeff Burton

The concept of a faith crisis is a relatively new one, especially in LDS discourse. But Jeff Burton has been documenting cases of faith crises since the early 1980s. What has changed about the patterns of faith crises from then until now? Are there mor...
Grace Pool author

Episode 14: Translating the Joseph Smith Translation

What’s the deal with the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible? In this episode, Bryan, Lindsay, and Christopher explore what Joseph Smith did and what he might have been trying to accomplish when he attempted his own translation of the Old and New Tes...
Grace Pool author

Episode 19: Three Sisters: A Refugee Story

Rania, Nebal, and Aya Alsorani fled Syria with their parents when they lost everything to civic unrest and violence. They became refugees first in Jordan, and second in Phoenix, Arizona. Sarah Bybee Fisk interviews the sisters about their journey and w...
Grace Pool author

Episode 32: Too Interesting to Leave: A Conversation with Rick Bennett

Rick Bennett has earned his place among LDS podcasters by hosting guests from across the belief spectrum, from Utah Lighthouse Ministry founder Sandra Tanner to official LDS Church historian Steven Snow. John Larsen talks with Rick about how in the wor...
Grace Pool author

Episode 13: Early Black Mormons

Mormonism isn’t always known for its diversity, especially in its beginnings on the edge of the frontier. This episode will discuss some of the early black Latter-day Saints who joined the movement with help from Mica McGriggs, Darius Gray, and Christo...
Grace Pool author

Episode 18: Queer Futures in the Church and School

Roni Jo Draper has made it her mission to train BYU education students in the art of welcoming and supporting queer students in their classrooms. Blaire Ostler and Roni Jo talk about how she journeyed from the edge of a reservation to the LDS Church, t...
Grace Pool author

Episode 31: Early Mormonism and the Masonic Worldview

It’s not just the temple endowment ceremony that has deep roots in Freemasonry, you can find its lore in the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, too. John Larsen and Clair Von Barrus take a deep dive into the paral...
Grace Pool author

A Peculiar People? How Neo-orthodoxy Has Crept Into the LDS Church

By Robert C. Hunsaker Robert C. Hunsaker is a clinical mental health counselor in Salt Lake City.     Or right-click to download the audio file: A Peculiar People? How Neo-orthodoxy Has Crept Into the LDS Church     In November of 2004 something so unc...
Stephen Carter author

Episode 17: An Introduction to Flourish Counseling Services

Flourish Counseling Services is a pioneer in providing therapy especially tailored to the LGBTQ community in Utah. Though it has never been an easy road, it has always been a rewarding one. Blaire Ostler talks with Lisa Hansen and Laura Skaggs Dulin ab...
Grace Pool author

Episode 30: An Introduction to Mormon Transhumanism: A Conversation with Blaire Ostler.

Will all the promises of Christianity—immortality, god-like powers, etc.—actually be provided by science? Mormon theology has plenty of room for that idea! John Larsen talks with Blaire Ostler about the Mormon Transhumanist worldview. Listen to this ep...
Grace Pool author

Episode 12: Crazy For Kirtland

Mormonism’s earliest converts weren’t always the straight-laced, pious pioneers we sometimes remember them as. As this episode will demonstrate, early Kirtland was a wild, wild time. Join Lindsay Hansen Park and Bryan Buchanan as they talk about early ...
Grace Pool author

Why the Heck Don’t Mormons Swear?

By Jana Riess     Or right-click here to download the audio file: Why the Heck Don’t Mormons Swear?   Read the original article here.
Stephen Carter author

Episode 29: Revising Your Sexual Story: A Conversation with Natasha Helfer Parker

Breaking news! Mormons and ex-Mormons could be having better sex! And they don’t even need Cosmopolitan’s hot tips! John Larsen and Natasha Helfer Parker dive into the Hows of enjoying sex, both in and out of the faith.   Listen to this episode here.
Grace Pool author

Episode 28: Overcoming the Anger: How to Let Go and Move On

When individuals leave the Church they are often overwhelmed with negative emotions. Based on his many years working with individuals in faith transition, John Larsen will discuss ways to move on from the pain and embrace more peace and joy. Listen to ...
Grace Pool author

A Reluctant Pioneer

An experiment to see if I can successfully upload podcasts.   Audio Experiment Download file | Play in new window | Duration: 7:50
Stephen Carter author

Episode 11: An Episode Full of Females

What attracted women to the early Mormon church? Podcast hosts Lindsay Hansen Park and Bryan Buchanan dig into this question and ask historians Brittany Chapman Nash and Christopher C. Smith to help shed light on who these early Mormon women converts w...
Grace Pool author

Episode 16: Mayoring While Female: A Conversation with Donia Jessop

Donia Jessop is the first woman—and first non-FLDS person—to be elected mayor in Hildale, Utah. Shirlee Draper interviews Jessop about her campaign and about the difficulties and successes of her time in office. Listen to this episode here.
Grace Pool author

Episode 10: Restoring What Was Lost: Priesthood Restoration Narratives

Exactly how was Christ’s Priesthood restored in the mind of Latter-day Saints? That question isn’t easily answered. Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park bring on Mormon historians Dan Vogel and Christopher C. Smith to give it a try. Listen to this ep...
Grace Pool author

Episode 27: Farewell to Manti: A Visit to the Last Pageant

Join John Larsen and Lindsay Hansen Park on a road trip to the Manti Pageant where you’ll learn about the history of the pageant, the attitudes behind it, and the reasons for its demise. Listen to this episode here.
Grace Pool author

Episode 26: A Post- Mormon Sex Primer with Mary Fisher

Sex can get complicated after Mormonism. Fortunately, John Larsen and Mary Fisher are here to give you some tips on how explore (or not) safely and ethically. Content Warning: This episode discusses sexual practices, STIs, and consent. Listen to this e...
Grace Pool author

Episode 9: Straight Outta New York

The Mormon movement was seeded in New York and spread throughout the United States. Why New York? How did the geography surrounding Mormonism impact the doctrine, culture, and belief? How did white settler narratives impact the Book of Mormon? Bryan Bu...
Grace Pool author

2019 Sunstone Fiction Contest Winners

Congratulations to this year’s Sunstone Fiction Contest winners! The crop of stories this year was especially robust, with an eclectic mix of genres, subjects, and voices. Sunstone subscribers and Patreon patrons ( can look forward...
Stephen Carter author

Episode 15: The Last Manti Pageant

Join Firesides host Blaire Ostler as she and her husband Drew recount their experiences attending the last run of the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Utah. They discuss an overview of the experience, the doctrinal and cultural implications, and the hi...
Grace Pool author

Episode 25: Not Church

An Introduction to Oasis. Body, When people transition out of the LDS Church, they often look for a place to fill their need for community, and some of them end up in an Oasis group. John Larsen talks with some of the organizers of the Salt Lake City c...
Grace Pool author

Episode 24: Life Outside the Closet: A Talk with the Latter-day Lesbians

Shelly was a Mormon mother of seven children before she realized that she was a lesbian. Now she and her partner Mary run the “Latter-day Lesbian” podcast. They came to Salt Lake City for the Pride Festival and stopped in the Sunstone studio to talk wi...
Grace Pool author

Episode 8: How Was the Book of Mormon Translated?

How was the Book of Mormon created? Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park explore different approaches to the Book of Mormon with historians Sheldon Kent and Christopher C. Smith. Listen to this Episode here. Additional resources and information about...
Grace Pool author

You Can Give Him a Kiss

By Alison Maeser Brimley     Or right-click to download the audio here: You Can Give Him a Kiss   Alison Maeser Brimley is the winner of the 2017 and 2018 Association of Mormon Letters Short Fiction Awards and the 2017 Mountain West Writers Contest. Sh...
Stephen Carter author

Episode 23: Striking a Balance: Finding the Podcast’s Voice

As the Sunstone Podcast hits its six-month mark, Lindsay Hansen Park and John Larsen discuss the podcast’s successes and difficulties and their vision for going forward. Listen to this episode here.
Grace Pool author

Thirteen Favorable Consequences of Ordaining Women

By M. Scott Fisher     Or right-click to download the audio file here: Thirteen Favorable Consequences of Ordaining Women   For a PDF version of the article, click here.   First published in Sunstone almost 25 years ago, every word of Fisher’s article ...
Stephen Carter author

Epsiode 22: You’re Not Alone: A Conversation with the Mama Dragons

When a child comes as as LGBTQIA+ what is a Mormon mother to do? John Larsen talks with some of the founding members of the Mama Dragons, a growing group of women who ferociously defend their queer children. Listen to this episode here.
Grace Pool author

Episode 7: The Bad Girls of Early Mormonism

Not every woman in early Mormonism was obedient, submissive, nor compliant. Who were these “huffy” women? Join Bryan Buchanan, Lindsay Hansen Park, Christopher C. Smith, and Maxine Hanks as they discuss the “Bad Girls” of early Mormon history. Listen t...
Grace Pool author


by Dayna Patterson Dayna Patterson is the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). She is the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre, a former managing editor of Bellingham R...
Stephen Carter author